Monday 14 March 2022



By Clive Gresswell

A black coffee



The Interlocuter of All Things Travel eyed Benjamine Jones’ passport suspiciously. Quite a few of the unvaccinated had smuggled themselves abroad recently and control really did need to be tightened. The Interlocuter was brought in by the Government seven-months ago specifically for that purpose. His sweeping powers included immediate indefinite incarceration in one of the airport’s isolation cells. Recently the newspapers, such as they were, had latched on to one or two cases where prisoners had just languished in their cells as if completely forgotten by the outside world.

The Interlocuter’s name was Ray Winston – not that he let anyone from the Border Force call him by that while at work. Everything inside The Service was very formal to prevent people from becoming too pally. That would only be embarrassing for those of superior rank, as Ray Winston knew only too well.

He demanded that Jones should be strip-searched in the antechamber by two of the guards. This was not at all unusual these days and Jones decided not to protest just yet, but to keep his powder dry, although he was not looking forward to the always intimate and thorough probing of the guards.

But as their hands began to pat him down Jones started to tremble. He began to shrug their hold off his legs as he stared directly into their faces.

“Just what do you want off me – I’ve been treble vaccinated. Surely that’s all you need to know,” he boomed his body betraying him as he became more and more unsteady on his feet.

“We’ll be the judges of that,” said the female guard whose hand slipped back to steady his legs.

“He must want you searched for a reason,” said the other.

“Maybe to keep his quotas up,” ventured Jones, struggling to keep his voice on an even keel.

The female guard swiftly slapped him around the face while the man rabbit-punched him in the stomach making him feel queasy.

“Now, that’s just how we treat our dissenters, if you don’t have a care,” said the man.

“One good thing about having your Covid-Passport with you,” said the uniformed woman “Is that we can touch you where it hurts with impunity,” following which she planted a huge karate-chop on his neck.

Jones doubled up on the floor and lay there winded for a few moments until he was tugged by the hair and forced to stand up.

“There’s five new forms for you to fill in here, before you can leave. What time is your flight?”

“Six and I’ll never make it at this rate, is this all really necessary?”

“Highly necessary pigdog.”

The Interlocuter came into the room carrying a large carving knife which he brandished at the alarmed traveller.

“What do you want! I’ve had all my jabs. This really is beyond the pale. I’d give my right hand to help you now but…”

The interlocuter kneeled beside him, gazing directly into his eyes. The official blinked and some drool dribbled down his chin as he began to mark up Jones’ right wrist ready for the necessary surgery.

 About the author  

Clive enjoys writing metafictions and absurdist stories. He lives in Luton, UK, and is also a well-published poet. His latest poetry books are with erbacce-press. He has an MA and a BA in Creative Writing.

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